My love of printing began during my time at Goldsmith’s college. It was the second year of the course in which we had a print workshop, and I remember thinking “yes, this is it, this is the medium for me” – printing just clicked for me, it’s what I loved doing, and ever since it has been my main way of working.
However, inspiration came much earlier on at home. From a very young age I have memories of sitting next to my mother whilst she was sewing. She always seemed to have a project on the go, be it making new curtains, upholstering chairs or making the three of us children new clothes. Sometimes we all matched, a fabric used in a shirt for my younger brother would also be used in a collar for one of mine or my sisters dresses. It was the seventies, so there were some wonderful patterns and colour combinations in the clothes she made. She even made herself and my sister matching capes. She was a great seamstress, and was able to look at an item of clothing, make a pattern from it and make her own version. This was inspired by a thriftyness and not wanting to pay high street prices. Clothes were more expensive then, but you could buy fabric cheaply, so it was much more ecconomical and made sense to make your own clothes and of course they were unique. I owe it to my mother for instilling in me a love of making and working with textiles. She also had a pretty good eye for colour, thanks mum.
These days my inspiration comes in many guises, often the pattern and geometry within architecture and the landscape spotted on walks through London, also the physical act of mixing and layering of colours, the texture of fabrics, and the printing process. Before working in textiles I used to paint long thin paintings onto paper and would combine with collage as a way of describing what I saw around me. I now use dye pastes, pigments, and sometimes pigment discharge to screen-print and paint onto a variety of textiles. Whilst photography and sketching are the starting points for a new piece of work, I am increasingly using the computer to design and plan, and for adjusting and editing sections of photographs before they are transferred onto screens. These screens are then used in conjunction with hand-cut stencils to layer and build up the composition.
Quite often, I create my work as a group, to be displayed together or independently. Two or more pieces will be worked on side-by-side, and viewed as one composition. I use imagery and colour in an abstract way to create focal points, balance and space. Sections of photographs join with floating forms and flowing lines that wind their way over the surface, passing through and connecting imagery and different fabrics.